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Draught for Jorhat thirst
- Rs 55-crore project to purify and supply water from Brahmaputra

Jorhat, Aug. 31: A Rs 55.04-crore project will supply purified water of the Brahmaputra to Jorhat homes and wash away fears of arsenic contamination in every gulp.

DoNER minister Bijoy K. Handique had announced the project after he took charge of the ministry in May last year.

The plan was cleared recently, “as it needed time for paperwork”.

“It was a long-standing demand of the people of Jorhat and they will soon get uninterrupted pure drinking water,” Handique, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Jorhat, told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi.

While the DoNER ministry will finance the project, the Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board is likely to be the implementing agency.

A source in the DoNER ministry, however, said the state government would have the final say on the agency.

“The sewerage board may not be in a position to implement a project of such magnitude which involves hauling water over a distance of 17km... this is a long distance,” a source said.

Though Jorhat town, with a population of 120,415 (2001 census), has a scheme that supplies water drawn from underground sources and Bhugdoi river, it is not adequate.

The project, under the Jorhat Municipal Board, caters to about 3,000 households in the town.

The Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board took up a project to supply drinking water to the town in the mid nineties.

However, sporadically, arsenic was detected beyond permissible limit in the underground source, sparking a public uproar.

Given the increasing demand for potable water, the board proposed a project to DoNER to supply water from the Brahmaputra.

It did not approach the state government as Dispur does not have enough funds to finance such a venture, a board official said.

Named the Augmentation of Jorhat Town Water Supply Scheme, the project aims to quench the thirst of 208,724 Jorhatians by 2024 and 296,494 people by 2039.

“There will be no complaints about arsenic content in drinking water as soon as the project is implemented,” the official said.

The official said it would take not more than two years for the project to be implemented.

“Since we already have the existing infrastructure for the treatment plant units and reservoirs, including pipe distribution network, the project can be easily implemented within two years,” the official said.

He said raw water shall be tapped by installing floating barges on the Brahmaputra, 17km from the town. Subsequently, water will be purified at the existing treatment plants.

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